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Category: Comme des Garcons

Paris Fashion Week: Comme des Garcons show a hybrid vehicle

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Rei Kawakubo's work at Comme des Garcons, however abstract, almost always deals with gender politics. And this season was no different.

But she also seemed to be saying something else. With one of the smallest shows on the schedule (just 40 people front row), she brought intimacy back to the fashion show experience. Even the models' hairdos-- resembling gold treasure--conveyed preciousness.

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The clothes were half-man, half-woman--an overcoat, fused with a more feminine double-breasted jacket, for example, and a brogue shoe with a bow on top.

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Some of the looks even had a desexing effect--such as a partially opaque tulle shirt blurring out the shape of breasts, worn with lacy black tap pants and a coat tied to the shoulders with a grosgrain ribbon.

As strange as these hybrid garments may seem, they could have quite a transformative effect. Wearing one of the half-blazers, tied to the body with a grosgrain ribbon, over a dress, could look quite cool.

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The collection built to a cacophony of color and print, with dresses and skirts sewn together from a patchwork of silk handkerchiefs and scarves.

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Then, for the finale, a group of models came out together, dressed all in gold, swarming around the stage like honeybees. Perhaps it was a subtle joke about fashion's (and fashion week's) predisposition to buzz. Or not. With Kawakubo, one never knows.

--Booth Moore in Paris

Photos: Looks from the Comme des Garcons fall-winter 2011 runway collection shown during Milan Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times.

Paris Fashion Week: The best of the rest from the men's runway

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Since Paris Fashion Week served up more noteworthy menswear collections than we had time to discuss in depth, and the Haute Couture shows are now on the fashion world's center stage (soon to be followed by New York Fashion Week), here's  a notebook-clearing laundry list of the ones that got away:

Lanvin

The Lanvin collection telegraphed its duality with a soundtrack that abruptly cut between '70s-era country music and futuristic thumping techno beats. So too the runway was filled with both extremes: skinny-legged pants interspersed with generously cut trousers, technical outerwear pieces such as puffer jackets and bombers followed by double-breasted jackets, and other pieces that combined the best of both ends of the spectrum. But there was one constant -- many looks were topped off with the wide-brimmed hat that had become one of the "it" accessories of the men's fall and winter 2011 shows.

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Yves Saint Laurent

"Take me back to England" were the first words we could make out from the soundtrack accompanying

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Paco Rabanne issues update of iconic chain handbag

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In collaboration with Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo, Paco Rabanne has reissued his iconic 1969 chain-metal handbag, le69. The original bag was one of many pieces incorporating metal in Rabanne's rebellious couture line, sported by fashionable women such as Audrey Hepburn, Jane Birkin and Donyale Luna. 
 
The handbag comes in nine iterations, including steel, natural horn, stingray leather, warm brown vegetable-dyed leather, matte wine-colored suede, metallic powder pink suede, black rubber, perspex and aluminum.  It signifies the first stage in the relaunch of Paco Rabanne’s fashion house, further details for which are expected to be announced at Paris Fashion Week in February.
 
Currently, le69 is available for purchase in the United States only at Comme des Garcon in New York.  Phone orders from other states are welcome, and it is rumored that select stores in Los Angeles will be carrying the line later this year –- this might be worth holding your breath for.
 
Prices range from $965 to $2,200.

-- Raha Lewis

Photo: The newly reissued le69 bag, in several iterations. Credit: Paco Rabanne

Paris Fashion Week: At Junya, Comme and V&R, clothes are concept

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Take a simple concept and riff on it endlessly. That was the recipe for several spring collections shown in Paris over the weekend.

Junya1 The horizontal Breton stripes that have been all over the streets like a rash since last year have trickled up to many a designer runway this season. But in Junya Watanabe's hands, stripes became extraordinary.

Turning them every which way, he created Op Art effects on T-shirt dresses, coat dresses and long skirts.

He added to the seafaring theme with nautical-prints (think lanterns and life preservers), canvas windbreakers, softly draped chiffon trenches, and straw boaters. (With their heads covered by stockings, the models looked even more like faceless mannequins than they already do.)

Junya Watanabe spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

Comm1 At Comme des Garçons, Rei Kawakubo's concept was somewhat more mysterious. A coat with other coats hanging on its back, or a thick black strip across the front like the bars across photos in a worst-dressed fashion spread.

A dress loaded down with other dresses, or sculpted into perfect shape with a molded leather bra, wide, waist-cinching belt and full skirt.

What did it all mean? When I saw a white jacket with a black band stretched across the bodice from sleeve to sleeve, preventing the arms from moving, I had an inkling it might be about the toll of fashion (the excess, the extremes to which we mold and adapt our bodies, etc.) In other words, this was a show about fashion victims, which is amusing on so many levels.

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For the finale, models came out in pairs, attached like Siamese twins with a dress between them. Were they bound by fashion as kindred spirits, competitors or something else? Who knows, but as always, the collection was a mindbender.

Comme des Garçons spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

Viktor & Rolf designers Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren have had their share of mind-bending collections, too. But this season's was not one of them.

Vr1 Instead, it was centered around the concept of a man's button-down shirt (which we have seen them do at least once before). The designers reimagined the shirt as a pair of cropped pants with French cuffs, a shirtdress with an open collar tilted to one side to reveal a bare shoulder, and another shirtdress with jersey insets at the waist and sleeves.

But between the awkward silhouettes and cheap-looking satiny fabrics, it was clear that this time, the shirt got short shrift.

Viktor & Rolf spring-summer 2011 runway collection photo gallery

-- Booth Moore, in Paris

More All The Rage coverage of Paris Fashion Week

Photos top: Looks from the Junya Watanabe, left, Comme des Garcons, middle, and Viktor & Rolf, right, spring-summer 2011 runway collections shown during Paris Fashion Week. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times. Photo left: coat from Junya Watanabe. Photo right: dress by Comme des Garcons, middle: two models from the Comme des Garcons runway show. Photo bottom: Shirt from Viktor & Rolf. Credit: Jonas Gustavsson & Peter Stigter / For The Times.

Comme des Garçons' and Dior launch creepy-artsy new short films

Artsy short films are fast becoming an integral part of any modern fashion or beauty campaign. And two big design houses, Comme des Garçons and Christian Dior, have recently debuted avant-garde (and, well, kind of creepy) films for new collections.

Cult-favorite brand Comme des Garçons'  three-minute cinematic offering, which is in the above video player, was created to promote its new fragrance, Wonderwood — and features mood-board-style images of a decaying doll face watching pine combs, pine needles, broken acorns and insect-like woodpeckers move around on their own. All of this is set to chilling-cum-whimsical instrumental music that might have been at home in the '80s horror movie, "Children of the Corn."

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Paris Fashion Week: Comme des Garcons' bumpy ride

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At Comme des Garcons, Rei Kawakubo left a lot to the imagination, showing dresses and tops that added bulk to the parts of the body most women spend their lives trying to slim.

Lumps and bumps of padding rounded out the hips, stomachs, bust lines and backs of frock coats and tartan dresses, as if the body was too pumped up for the clothes to restrain it.

Other times, the padding coiled around the body like sausage. And still other times, it was arranged in a way that evoked hip panniers on dresses fashionable during the 18th century, when a woman's status was proportional to how much space she occupied, not how little.

The collection progressed to a finale of white, cloud-like dresses bursting at the seams with pillowy fluff, as if the models had the stuffing knocked out of them.

Was Kawakubo commenting on the female condition, the epidemic of obesity, plastic surgery, or the great size debate that has been bubbling up this runway season?

It was hard to tell, and that is part of her brilliance.

-- Booth Moore, reporting from Paris

RELATED:

More photos: Comme des Garcons' fall 2010 runway

More reviews from Paris Fashion Week

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Photos: Comme des Garcons' fall 2010 runway in Paris. All credits: Peter Stigter and Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times

Is Comme des Garçons trying to kill Kenny? Quite the opposite

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Reporting from Paris -- Several of the looks from Comme des Garçons Homme runway collection on Friday were accessorized with fur-lined funnel hoods that more than a few folks in the audience commented noted was reminiscent of "South Park's" Kenny McCormick, the kid in the orange, funnel-hooded parka, who seems to suffer a gruesome demise in each episode of the Comedy Central show. (But then again, there isn't really a deep bench of funnel-hood-wearing folks to draw on, is there?)

Since it's hard to imagine designer Rei Kawakubo spending her evenings watching "South Park", it's a safe bet it was an unintentional pop culture punchline, but after watching the entire runway show, it's clear that the ill-fated Kenny would do well to take a page or two from the Comme des Garçons Fall/Winter 2010 collection, which riffed on notions of protection.

Padded suiting fabric vests that fastened with straps and utilitarian plastic buckles looked like upscale Rage_CDG5 Kevlar body armor, a visual that was echoed by contrast taping behind the shoulders and at the small of the back on notch lapel jackets. Other jackets had padded chest inserts sewn in as well.

Similar buckles cinched together overshorts of various lengths worn layered over trousers, and some were crotchless, giving the impression of  protective wear -- a sort of suiting fabric version of the apron chaps used by professional loggers. 

Even the footwear seemed to have its defenses up; with traditional dress shoes protected by neon pink or green plastic toe caps that cinched around the heel.

The takeaway? These days we're all Kennys of one sort or another, and this is a wardrobe that can help us avoid becoming collateral damage before the next commercial break.

-- Adam Tschorn

Photos: Comme des Garcons' Fall / Winter 2010 men's runway

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Photos: At top left, three looks from Comme des Garçon's Fall/Winter 2010 men's runway collection, which included an abundance of  fur-lined funnel hoods that called to mind the frequently killed Kenny character, at right, on Comedy Central's animated series "South Park." At bottom, a close-up of a vest that resembles protective body armor. Photo credit: Jonas Gustavsson / For The Times (runway photos) and AP file photo (of "South Park's" Kenny).

Paris Fashion Week: Designs of the times

Comme des garcons A few weeks ago, I wrote about the shake-up going on in the fashion industry, how the rise of Internet use and fast-fashion consumption is challenging the taste making role of the elite, and how consumer attitudes are changing regarding the economic and ecological impact of more-is-more spending.

Designers are reacting in different ways (or not at all). Some are live streaming their runway shows on the Web to communicate more directly with the Internet-savvy public, others are using less expensive fabrics to help keep prices down in the hope of luring customers back to the luxury sector. And still others are making statements through their collections.

At Comme des Garcons, a soundtrack that shifted back and forth from lulling classical music to a cacophony of noise, set the scene for a commentary on life's frenzied pace. Dresses and boleros were collages of trends past, including ruffles, frills, polka dots and sequins. Several models wore exaggerated leather shoulder pads, as if designer Rei Kawakubo was mocking the recent 1980s shoulder pad trend wrought by the meteoric rise of the label Balmain, and the cannibalization of the look by purveyors of fast fashion just as quickly.
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Comme des Garcons wears its heart on a (Converse) shoe


Vintage Chuck Taylors get a modern makeover.

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Comme des Garcons and Converse have collaborated on a line of four sneaker styles called Comme des Garcons Play for Converse Collection. 

Digging into the Converse archives, Comme des Garcons’ Rei Kawakubo resurrected a Chuck Taylor style originally made for the U.S. military in the 1950s, and stamped it with her signature red heart-face.

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The collection is unisex, includes two high-tops and two oxfords and retails for $100.

The Comme des Garcons Play for Converse Collection comes out at the end of this month and is available in L.A. at Satine, Opening Ceremony and Legion.

-- Melissa Magsaysay

Photos: Comme des Garcons Play for Converse Collection sneakers. Photo credit: Converse

Designer sale at Resurrection this Saturday

 


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A slew of L.A.’s best designers, includingGregory Parkinson, Magda Berliner, Katy Rodriguez and   Wren’s Melissa Coker, are selling their goods at a super discount (50-70% off) this Saturday.
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GetprevWPlus, vintage pieces from Balenciaga, Prada, Comme des Garcons, Ann Demeulemeester, Chloe and Rick Owens.

Happy shopping!

Resurrection, 8006 Melrose Ave., L.A., CA 90046 Saturday, May 2, 12 p.m.-6 p.m.


--Melissa Magsaysay









Top: A look from Katy Rodriguez, photo by Katy Rodriguez; Left: A runway look from Wren, photo by Lori Shepler / L.A. Times; Right: A runway look from Gregory Parkinson, photo by Spencer Weiner / L.A. Times


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